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  • Day20

    Heading north (again)

    August 24, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    A short drive to Inverness, a brief farewell to our trusty Fiat 500 and before long we were settled into our train seats and looking forward to our northerly travels. With every mile that passed the mountains receded and gave way to vast open fields. A succession of prettily painted railway stations passed in a blurr. Arriving at Thurso after our 4 hour journey, a quick taxi ride took us to the Scrabster Ferry Inn, where we would spend the night before boarding our ship to the Orkney Islands.

    With no expectation of anything more than a pub meal and a stroll around the port, we were pleasantly surprised to find that this tiny fishing village offered hillside walks, spectacular scenery, an unusual lighthouse, a rich fishing history on display and a fabulous sustainablity-oriented restaurant. Of course there was also a pub (it's called the Frerry Inn for a reason). On top of that, it was a gloriously sunny afternoon - a real bonus in what had been an otherwise mixed weather bag for us in Scotland.

    After settling in to our more-than-adequate room, we ventured out, chancing upon an impressive old Dutch sailing vessel, which just happened to be in port. Colourful fishing boats filled the marina, their bright colours reflected in the still, clear waters. Eider ducks glided silently, dipping occasionally to feed amongst the seaweed and kelp that clung to the near-shore rocks.

    A brisk walk took us past Holborn Lighthouse- an interesting design with the assistant Lighthouse keeper's house incorporated into the lighthouse design (the Lighthouse Keeper having the fancier abode next door). Up and over the hill, through sheep paddocks till it seemed like we'd reach the tip of Scotland, where craggy cliffs provided homes to fulmars, their perky Puffin mates having departed only a few weeks earlier. The dramatic coastline offered a glimpse of the not-too-far-off Orkney Islands.

    Our final night on the Scottish mainland deserved a celebratory dinner and the Captain's Table offered exactly that. Housed in a restored ice house, their slow food philosophy suited our frame of mind. Coupled with amazing food and a delightful hostess, we wobbled home after a 3 course meal (with wine matches) and slept soundly till our alarm announced the arrival of the next phase in our adventure.
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